Amendment to expand tobacco pictorial warning tabled in Parliament

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 00:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Dinesh Gunwardena expresses concern over lack of regard for Opposition scrutiny of urgent Bill

New laws relating to an increase in the area of coverage of health warnings up to 80% of the front and rear sides of every packet, package and carton of cigarettes and other tobacco products were brought before Parliament yesterday. The laws will amend section 34, 34A, and 45 of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No.27 of 2006. Accordingly, the draft warnings will inform consumers of the health hazards and the harmful effects resulting from the usage of tobacco products. The health warning on the front and rear sides will differ from each other while the manufacturer is also instructed to use different health warnings on each product in their portfolio. Announcing the notice of conformity received from the Supreme Court, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said: “The Cabinet of Ministers has certified and approved National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Amendment Bill for the betterment of the nation. The President has referred it to the Supreme Court in par with Article 122 (1) A of our Constitution. According Article 123, Supreme Court held none of its contents violates our Constitution.” However, opposition lawmaker Dinesh Gunawardena expressing his concerns for presenting the amendments to the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No.27 of 2006 in the form of an urgent bill noted: “At the party leaders meeting, it was agreed that a copy of an urgent bill, which is presented to the Supreme Court for guidance should also be given to the Leader of the Opposition and the party leaders in the opposition. This is the tradition to which we have agreed to and followed. Unfortunately this was not followed today.”